Buoyed by high scores for its channel partner support efforts, IBM took top Annual Report Card honors in the Data and Information Management Software arena this year. The company won this category for the third year in a row with a total overall ARC score of 70.8, just squeaking by Microsoft's 70.7 score and beating Oracle's 66.6 score by a fairly comfortable margin.
In the Support category, IBM came in with an average score of 64.1, topping Microsoft, which scored 63.3, and Oracle, which scored 56.5.
As with last year, IBM's win came on the strength of its scores in Pre- and Post-Sales Support, Quality of Field Management and Marketing Support criteria.
IBM's Software Value Plus program, launched earlier this year, has created more revenue opportunities for software channel partners by providing them with training and certification programs and more co-marketing, lead generation and sales support services, said Bernie Spang, marketing director for IBM information management software.
"And we've offered some very attractive financial incentives for them to become high-value business partners," he said.
Oracle, showing that it remains a technology leader, outscored IBM in the Product criteria of Reliability, Functionality and Technical Innovation. Microsoft, flexing its strength in channel management, scored higher on such Partnership criteria as Solution Provider Program, Managing Channel Conflict, and Revenue and Profit Potential.
All three data and information management software vendors improved their total scores this year:
IBM went from 68.2 in 2009 to 70.8, Microsoft went from 67.7 to 70.7 and Oracle went from 58.9 to 66.6. Each improved its scores across the Product Innovation, Support and Partnership categories, with the exception of the lower score Microsoft received this year for Product Innovation (from 79.7 in 2009 to 77.7 this year).